hammer1.gif (1140 bytes) People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXV

No. 20

May 20,2001

Trinamul Congress Opts For Mayhem And Anarchy

B Prasant

A VISIBLY desperate leadership of the Trinamul Congress, while blustering albeit in shaky tones about the "inevitability" of triumph, preferred to play it "safe" by unleashing a series of violent incidents in the city of Kolkata and across the districts as the hour of reckoning approached.

In the meanwhile, the by-poll being held in 90-odd booths in 30Vidhan Sabha constituencies have passed off with no report of any untoward incident.

Till the early afternoon on May 12, at least one CPI(M) worker had been killed and 15 left with critical injuries as a direct outcome of planned assaults by goons in the pay of the Trinamul Congress.

The most gruesome incident of violence was witnessed in the Kultali area of South 24 Parganas. Here the CPI(M) candidate for the Kultali seat, Ramashankar Haldar (49), was left severely injured. He was dragged down from a bus by a dozen-odd goons aligned with the SUCI, hacked with sharp-edged weapons, shot twice in the back, and then left for dead.

The strongly built Haldar, a Kisan Sabha activist, kept death at bay as he crawled to safety in nearby bushes, and his cries for help brought out dozens of CPI(M) workers who were dismantling the booth camps nearby. The assassins then chose to return on motorcycles, and roared away after spraying bullets on Haldar and his comrades from automatic handguns, perhaps to make amends for their initial miscalculation. The five CPI(M) workers who were been admitted to hospital, along with a yet unconscious Haldar, are all in critical conditions as they had taken the entire brunt of the second attack while shielding a now unconscious Haldar with their bodies.

Some distance away at Mathurapur, CPI(M) worker Haran Sanpui (50) succumbed to massive head wounds when pro-SUCI goons pounced upon him, and bludgeoned him repeatedly with staves. Sanpui was then traversing across an empty paddy field on his way back to his residence.

A visit to the Radhakantapur lagoon by the side of which Comrade Haran used to eke out a living along with his three sons as a khet mazdoor, revealed that even in death, the physically disadvantaged Comrade Haran Sanpui would not let go of the Red Flag. He had it clutched tightly to his chest even as he was being beaten to a pulp, with no help anywhere nearby.

At Bankra in Howrah, Trinamul Congress hoodlums attacked the Sardarpara bustee for the "crime" committed by the men and women of the area. Their "crime" was that they had come out in their hundreds to prevent the thugs from rigging the polls. The brunt of the attack fell on the CPI(M) polling agent at the nearby booth, Feroze Ahmad. His chest and neck were slashed with knives and he could escape only when the people of area streamed out at the noise of bombs being burst. Feroze lies in hospital with multiple lacerations and flesh wounds, but is said to be out of danger.

In the heart of Kolkata, at Ananda Palit Road, two CPI(M) workers, Ashis Kanjilal and Subrata Buxi, were shot at and hit on the head with iron rods by notorious history-sheeter and Trinamul Congress worker, Ganesh Singh and his henchmen. Both the CPI(M) workers run auto-rickshaws for a living, and were about to resume plying their vehicles following the end of polling at a nearby booth, when they were attacked. Both were admitted to the National Medical College & Hospital in critical conditions.

In the meantime, re-polling went on peacefully in 90 booths of 30 constituencies even as the Trinamul Congress supremo Ms Mamata Banerjee rubbished every opinion poll and declared, as television cameras rolled, that she would not allow the Left Front to assume office once the results were declared --- a somewhat ambiguous statement, to say the least.

She then chose to shower abuses on chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya for "unleashing terror everywhere in Bengal over the past fortnight in the run-up to the polls." She also spoke about "massive rigging" having been "allowed" by the state administration "in every booth of the state." And she did not respond, and rather preferred to silently wave her arms wildly about, when asked to comment on her colleague Sudip Bandyopadhyay’s confident "prediction" that "his" outfit, along with the Pradesh Congress, would "surely bag 185 seats in the least."

State CPI(M) secretary Anil Biswas was in no mood to set any great store by these antics. He merely said that the principal task before the people was to show restraint in face of all attempts at provocation being made by a desperate Trinamul Congress and Pradesh Congress, with the BJP seeking to fish in the troubled waters of violence.

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